Despite blowing a nine-point fourth-quarter lead, the Miami Heat dominated their overtime period against the Sacramento Kings 15-7 to win 108-96, improve to 2-2 on the season and win their first game at home.
This game does not represent a win the Heat should be proud of. Miami played an uneven second half and nearly allowed the Kings to win the game in regulation, which would’ve dropped the Heat to 1-3 on the season (and 0-3 at home). Dion Waiters exemplified Miami’s excruciating second-half offense when he stood near half-court for 20 seconds before launching a contested long 2 with 10 seconds left in a tie ball game. No movement.
Now, the offense got better in the overtime period. The Heat moved the ball a bit better, and some dribble penetration from Goran Dragic gave Tyler Johnson a lane to the basket for a momentum-shifting basket. But a better team would have taken advantage of this Heat performance. During one third-quarter sequence, Luke Babbitt missed five 3-pointers in a three-minute span.
Another reason why the Heat struggled? Hassan Whiteside battled foul trouble for much of the night, picking up five fouls in his first 17 minutes of action and struggling from the field the few opportunities he had. To his credit, Whiteside played much better to close the fourth quarter. He even found a way to get this basket to go.
Whiteside ended the night with 14 points, 11 boards and two blocks — a respectable stat line. But a more controlled, engaged performance from Whiteside would have turned this game into a comfortable Heat win instead of a squeaker.
Due to Whiteside’s foul trouble, a lot of the burden shifted to the Heat’s guards. They stood as the bright spot for the Heat throughout the night. Dragic scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and made five 3-pointers — a welcome sight to see him hitting shots from downtown. The Heat point guard also had eight rebounds and eight assists. He seemingly disappeared when Miami needed him most — in the fourth quarter, when the Heat offense sputtered — but came back alive in overtime.
Tyler Johnson added 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line. Johnson’s offensive flurry in overtime blew the game open and sealed a Heat victory. Erik Spoelstra once again closed with a three-guard lineup of Dragic, Johnson and Waiters. And although he took that horrible shot at the end of regulation, Waiters contributed 20 points on the night, including a nice step-back jumper with 35 seconds left in the fourth to tie the game.
The win is good, especially with two tough road games ahead for the Heat. But Miami will have to play much better than they did tonight. Justise Winslow’s offensive woes continue to plague the Heat. Udonis Haslem got his first playing time of the season and had some good defensive moments against DeMarcus Cousins. But he struggled offensively, getting blocked at the rim a couple times.
The Heat will visit the Toronto Raptors Friday at 7:30 p.m.